A triple squeeze occurs when declarer pressures a single defender in three suits. It can often become "progressive" or repeating. In other words, the defender must discard in such a way that he is subjected to a second squeeze:

North
AJ
8
West3East
K39Q
Q37
South
KS5742
HAT
D6
CQ


Playing a diamond contract, South leads the 6 from hand. What is West to pitch?

  • If he discards the S3, South can cross to dummy and cash two spades. The second spade will effect a simple squeeze against West in hearts and clubs.
  • If he discards the H3, South plays two heart winners in hand to squeeze West again - this time in spades and clubs.
  • Lastly, if West discards the CK, South plays the CQ to squeeze him in the majors.

It is also possible for a triple squeeze to be non-progressive, i.e. non-repeating. For instance:

North
5
WestK8East
K6
K2
Q9South43
Q7SJ52
HQJT
D2
C3

South, playing no-trumps, leads the SJ. If West chucks the H, South's hearts all become good. End of deal. (Should West discard a minor spot card instead, South can repeat the squeeze.)


Example

The following deal was reported in 1953 by Robert B. Hutchinson1. At trick 10, West can discard so that the defense must immediately lose the remaining tricks. (Or, he can choose a different discard that yields a progressive squeeze.)


“One of the most interesting deals we have seen in almost a quarter-century of studying and reporting on matters pertaining to bridge will be detailed today. The correct play of this hand requires reverse dummy handling of trump, an unblocking play (also in trump), the transfer of the outstanding master card in an offsite from one opponent to the other, (ie: forcing the right hand opponent to play his high cards and thereby establishing a lower card as the master card in the other opponent’s hand), the Vienna Coup, and finally - the product of all these plays - the triple squeeze (the squeezing on one opponent in three suits). Sounds like a tall order, but actually as the play develops it is easily followed.

“With North-South vulnerable, and South the declarer, the final contract is seven hearts, doubled by West. Here is the distribution:

North
AQT6
976543
West2East
9875Q9KJ42
TJ
KQ64South9875
KJ76S35432
HAKQ82
DAJT3
CAT8


“West leads the spade nine-spot. This appears to be his highest spade, so after the Ace wins the trick, the Queen is led and covered by East’s King (confirming the first deduction). This certainly establishes the fact that West must hold the King-Queen of diamonds and the club King and most likely the Jack as well, otherwise his double would be sheer suicide. Thus begins the trail of the triple squeeze. If West’s next highest spade can be made the master-card in that suit, the triple squeeze is well on the way to reality.

“West will thus have to guard spades, diamonds, and clubs. By trumping two spades in his own hand declarer will develop eight trump tricks in all, and these added to the spade trick already cashed, plus the two minor Aces, will make a total of eleven - the proper requirements of the triple squeeze. So on the second trick, Declarer ruffs with one of his high trumps (the unblocking play previously mentioned) in order to create another trump entry in dummy. He now cashes a high trump, dropping the two outstanding hearts, and follows with the eight-spot - overtaking with the nine in dummy. Then the ten of spades, which is covered by East’s Jack, and trumped by declarer’s Ace (leaving only the deuce). This play actually establishes the eight of spades as the master card in that suit in the West hand.

“Now for the Vienna Coup. Declarer next leads his club Ace, so that his remaining clubs may be freely discarded on dummy’s long trumps, while dummy’s Queen and six-spot of spades become threats to West. Then the deuce of hearts, overtaking with the seven in dummy, and this is followed by the six and five, with declarer pitching his two remaining clubs. At this particular moment (ready for the tenth trick), dummy’s last heart is played as the following situation has been developed:

North
6
4
West2East
8Q (Immaterial)
KQSouth
KS
H
DAJT3
C


“East’s four remaining cards are not shown as they have no bearing whatsoever on the final play. As dummy plays the four of trump, you can see how West is unmercifully squeezed. No matter what he discards, the remaining tricks are all for the declarer. Should he discard one of his diamonds, South can make all the remainder in that suit. Should he pitch either a spade or a club, the lead of that suit will repeat the squeeze again.”


References

1 Hutchinson, R. (1953, September 13). Not According to Hoyle. Reading Eagle.

See also

Online Audio Lessons by Marty Bergen